Councilman Fielkow’s tenure has been marked by a commitment to government reform, economic development, and improved opportunities for New Orleans youth in the fields of education and recreation. A particularly notable accomplishment from his first year in office was the enactment of legislation expediting the creation of an Office of Inspector General for the City of New Orleans. The Office of Inspector General (OIG), which had sat dormant for over a decade despite being approved by the public in the mid-19990’s, is a critical position intended to ensure that every dollar of taxpayer’s money is spent fairly and efficiently.
As Chair of the City Council’s Economic Development Committee, Fielkow has worked to build opportunities for sustainable economic development, focusing on the expansion of international trade in New Orleans, improving services and support for the city’s small businesses, and the development of a downtown medical district. Councilman Fielkow has been an adamant supporter of rebuilding the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in downtown New Orleans and of the development of a bio-medical research district downtown. Believing that the economic future of New Orleans rests on the city’s ability to attract and retain business, Councilman Fielkow is leading the effort to reform and improve the city’s approach to economic development. Councilman Fielkow is working closely with various local business groups, the Office of Recovery and Development Administration (ORDA) and the Mayor’s Administration to implement a public/private partnership model for economic development, similar to structures already successfully in place in cities such as Miami, Pittsburgh, Lafayette, LA and Jefferson Parish, LA.
Fielkow’s life-long involvement in children’s issues serves him well as chair of the Council’s Youth and Recreation Committee. In his first year, Fielkow helped facilitate programs such as the Playground Partnership, a public/private partnership to clean up and rehabilitate the city’s playgrounds. Councilman Fielkow was also instrumental in NCAA Football’s decision to create a New Orleans Youth Football Initiative, donating $750,000 worth of equipment and services to the New Orleans Recreation Department’s (NORD) football program, the largest donation in NORD history. While NORD was once a national model for municipal recreation, it has deteriorated over the years from a asteady decrease in financing and leadership turnover. Together with community groups, citizens and business leaders, Councilman Fielkow is leading an effort to reform and improve the city’s recreation system. This is an ongoing effort, requiring the input from all interested parties, and Councilman Fielkow feels strongly that nothing less than a reform of NORD will give all local youth the quality facilities, coaching and equipment that every child deserves, regardless of neighborhood.
Additionally, Councilman Fielkow is a vocal supporter of public education, and heralds the growing charter school movement as an unprecedented opportunity to transform urban education in New Orleans. Working with the Recovery School District, Orleans Parish School Board and NORD, Councilman Fielkow continues to support the innovative efforts currently being undertaken in the city’s schools and youth programs. It is hoped that New Orleans will soon see dozens of new or renovated public schools over the next few years – something the city has not seen for many decades.
To combat the negative misperceptions of New Orleans being disseminated by national media outlets, Councilman Fielkow and Tulane University President Scott Cowen co-founded the Fleur-de-lis Ambassador Program. The program is comprised of a group of local influential leaders who spread the message via city visits that New Orleans is an economically viable, livable city with a long-range recovery plan in progress; and to seek additional support in our recovery from business and philanthropic organizations. To date, the Fleur-de-lis Ambassadors have visited Boston, Birmingham, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Philadelphia. In each city, Ambassadors meet with key government, business and philanthropic leaders as well as major media outlets.
Prior to his election to City Council, Fielkow spent the majority of his career in sports management and law. Most recently he served as Executive Vice President of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints for six years. In this capacity, he served as the senior management official presiding over all administrative/business departments, including marketing, sales, regional development, governmental affairs, community relations, business media relations and youth programs.
Before joining the Saints, Fielkow was involved in Major League Baseball’s player development system by serving as President and General Counsel of the historic Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs and as President of Minor League Baseball’s AA Association. Preceding his work in professional baseball, Fielkow served as Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel of the Continental Basketball Association, the official developmental league of the NBA.
Fielkow began his professional career as a practicing attorney in Chicago, and eventually co-founded the law firm of Grossman, Solomon, & Fielkow, P.C. A member of the Illinois and Wisconsin Bar Associations, Fielkow has authored several legal and sports-related articles including, “Civil Rico: The Insurers Fight Back” and “CBA: A World of Opportunity”, and is a frequent public speaker at national and local sports industry events.
Fielkow is a 1981 graduate of the University of Wisconsin – School of Law and earned his B.A. degree with honors (Phi Beta Kappa) from Northwestern University.
Awards and Recognition
Councilman Fielkow has been recognized for his civic and community contributions, including the Anti-Defamation League’s A.I. Botnick Torch of Liberty Award in 2007, the prestigious 2004 TOP Award (“Ten Outstanding Persons”) and the 2003 Sanchez to Sanchez to Smith Award issued by Family Service of Greater New Orleans and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, respectively.
Additionally, Councilman Fielkow was voted “Best New Orleans City Councilmember” by Gambit Weekly both in 2007 and 2008, named one of New Orleans Magazine’s 2006 “People to Watch” and was recently named “Favorite Local Politician” in 2008 by New Orleans Magazine.
Philanthropy and Family
Fielkow is active in the New Orleans community, having served on the Board of Directors for Greater New Orleans, Inc., United Way, Each One, Save One, the World Trade Center of New Orleans, Audubon Commission, The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, Touro Synagogue and the National Conference for Community and Justice. He also co-chaired the Sports Cluster for GNO, Inc., and was an executive committee member of the Super Bowl XXXVI Host Committee.
An avid sports fan, Fielkow played tennis on the collegiate level and was selected to the silver-medal winning United States men’s basketball team at the 15th Maccabiah Games in Israel. Fielkow also serves as an active youth coach in the New Orleans Carrollton neighborhood program. He and his wife, Dr. Susan Fielkow, have three sons, Justin, Michael and Steven and two daughters, Yana Shira and Svetlana.